Business English is hard when you are a non-native speaker. You may be asking yourself “How can I improve my Business English?” Well, even the most advanced English learners can struggle with how to improve their professional English speaking skills. Some of it comes from not having the right words or mispronouncing them, but much of that struggle can be from a lack of confidence or fluency (being able to speak without hesitation).
We asked our Lingoloop students who are focusing on business English, about the challenges of using English in the workplace. Here is a list of their concerns.
#1 “I don’t want to seem impolite.”
A recent student who works in a corporate job wanted to learn how to say “I can’t right now, but I’ll finish it by the end of the week.” She feels when she says anything other than “yes,” it might come across as impolite. Of course there are many polite ways to say “No” in English. But it can be difficult to think of them on the spot! When you have a chance look at our recent blog post about different ways to say “no.”
#2 “I feel like people stop listening to me.”
Another comment we get from people in management positions is that they feel that their team members stop listening to them after a few sentences because the listeners are distracted by the speaker’s limited vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.
One way to improve in this area is to learn the jargon (idiomatic expressions) of your field. There are so many idiomatic expressions and acronyms in business! People love to find a short way to say something. It will help you speak more succinctly and connect with your co-workers.
It can be frustrating when people don’t listen to you! It becomes distracting and can lead to the next thing on our list.
#3 “I lose my train of thought.”
It can happen to the best of us, but it happens a little too often to non-native speakers. Because many of our students are stressed about having to speak English, little things can derail their thoughts. All of a sudden, you forget what you were going to say!
Even if you are taking a Business English course to improve your vocabulary, don’t forget that it’s important practice using what you learn. Lingoloop group classes are a great way to practice speaking in front of others and improve your focus. Many students claim feeling more confidence after just a few classes!
#4 “I feel insecure when I’m on a conference call.”
There is something unnatural about speaking on a conference call. Only one person can speak at a time! There are awkward pauses and moments where people can’t hear. Even worse, now with video calls on Zoom, Facetime and Skype, there is the added pressure of worrying about what you look like. If you have Zoom anxiety check out our recent blog post about this topic!
#5 “Small talk is difficult for me.”
Some of our learners have little problem with speaking English in a technical setting, but when it comes to making “small talk” with co-workers, they don’t know what to say (or maybe they don’t know what others are saying). Some of it is cultural and some of it has to do with idiomatic expression. There are so many colorful ways to say things in English! It can be hard for non-native speakers to understand.
Is Business English hard?
So what do you think? Do any of these reasons sound like something you would say? If so, sign up for a Lingoloop Free trial class and improve your business English with our 5-star online English course. Most of our students use Lingoloop to improve their English for their current job or to help them find the next one. Speak English professionally and with confidence. Try it today!